Deathmatch Map Design Theory

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This page is for the cross-game deathmatch gamemode in general.
For the deathmatch gamemode in CSGO specifically, see Counter-Strike:_Global_Offensive/Game_Modes/Deathmatch.
For specifics about deathmatch mode in other games, see their applicable level design category page.

Deathmatch is a game mode found in many games, from Quake Quake, to Half-Life 2: Deathmatch Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, and even Counter-Strike 2 Counter-Strike 2. Conceptually, the game mode isn't very different from game to game. Indeed, from a player's point of view, the objective is quite simple: frag or get fragged. From a map design perspective, however, much more needs to be considered, so to prevent a map from feeling unfair, and instead feel "fun". Nonetheless, many base level design concepts remain a staple across all the games the mode is found in.

Player spawns

  • Deathmatch spawnpoints should be reasonably spread apart, unless they share the same team.
Players shouldn't spawn within line of sight of each other, but they also shouldn't spawn so far apart that they will take forever to find each other.
For team deathmatch, multiples of the same team's spawnpoints should be clustered, but these clusters should still be a reasonable distance away from other teams' spawnpoints.
  • Discourage spawn camping.
There are many ways to tackle this, and there's no one catch-all solution. Be creative; deathmatch games are most exciting when everyone is constantly moving!
  • Spawn points shouldn't be too far away from weapon drops.
In Half-Life Half-Life's multiplayer, for example, the player starts with the glock and the crowbar. These are both low-tier "last resort" weapons; a mid tier weapon should be nearby when a player spawns, stripped of his or her weapon (such as a revolver, MP5, or shotgun).